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Ask Curbed: Is This Condo Board Out Of Control?

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The pet issue is one not taken lightly in the city?coughStuyTowncough. Pet owners hate it when their pet-owning rights are tampered with, and those apartment dwellers without pets are usually not fond of the added noise and occasional smell. The "three month rule," where pets can't be kicked out if the owners have had them out in the open for 90 days, is often defended as vigorously as the First Amendment. But here's a case of a condo board that may be overstepping its bounds. Or not. That's where the Ask Curbed braintrust comes in:

My wife and I have rented in a pet friendly condo building for 2 years from a lovely owner. The condo board recently decided to enforce a no pet clause for renters stating that only owners have the right to have a dog. They sent a nasty letter to our owner saying they would get fined $100/day if we didn't remove our pet within 15 days. Now, our lease recently expired, but we agreed with the owner to stay through the end of the year because we have purchased in a new building and are waiting for construction to finish. We wrote a polite but firm letter stating our rights under the "NY Pet Law" (this law states that no pet clauses are unenforceable after 3 months) and requesting that we stay until our building is finished. Our owner was very nice and agreed to help and try to work this out. My wife ran into one of the board members in the lobby and stated what we had in the letter, which was that they have no right to remove our pet. After this conversation and our response we received a follow up letter stating that we had exacerbated the situation, and now WE had to leave the building too, threatening to fine the owner and sue for legal costs!

While we believe the law is on our side, we decided to move out to avoid aggravation and to not put our owner in a difficult position of having to fight fines. But we would love to hear what people think of whether boards can do this.

Can they kick pets out after 2 years? Can they fine owners arbitrary amounts? Can they evict tenants when there has been no violation of any law??

It seems to us that they are destroying value in the building by inducing turnover and threatening owners with fines and damages? Who would buy in a such a building? We are so glad we didn't.

Are condo boards learning from their co-op brethren and ruling with an iron fist? We thought the appeal of the condo was escaping the tyranny of the co-op. Who'd like to throw in their two cents?
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